Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A trip to my local Honda dealer

I still hadn't aligned the car after the conversion and I knew the weight changed plenty so it needed to get done. I finally made an appointment and took it in yesterday. My biggest concern was having somebody drive it, so I made sure to explain to the guy I was checking in with what needed to be done. It's nothing hard, but a few tricks that your average guy would think the car was broke when it didn't turn over :)

Long story short, Honda didn't get much work done that morning. I had about 15 of their employees looking at the car and asking questions. It was great to hear from all these guys how clean the job was and how much they liked it. There were a ton of questions from them and it was great to be able to show some people that this kind of thing IS possible despite their beliefs. I also found it interesting that they were impressed with a car that could go 80 miles on a charge. The typical reply was, "hey that's all I'd need to get to work and back".

Towards the end of the actual work the mechanic brought me back to explain something on the alignment. He said because of the weight difference in the front the caster couldn't be brought back into specs on the front, but it was very close. I asked if shifting more cells to the rear (which was something I was thinking of doing down the road) would help and he said no. The rear settings were maxed out on camber and adding more weight to the rear would put it outside the range as well so things will just remain as they are. It definitely makes me glad I went the LiFePO4 route, any amount of lead that could get me to work would kill my little car.

The icing on the cake for the day was I got the employee discount rate for the work since I made their day by bringing the car in. They all knew me by name now and kept thanking me. It was a great day but my wife couldn't understand why it took two and half hours until I explained the story. :)


Ken said...

So what are your plans to address the alignment issue?
How does the car handle with the alignment as is?
BTW, great conversion and I love following your progress!

Brian said...

The setting that is very slightly out of spec is caster which doesn't affect tire wear. The caster affects the lean of the tire when turning and therefore gives it the ability to return to center on its own and track. The mechanic said it was so close that I wouldn't notice, and I can't so I won't do anything.

He did mention that there are many aftermarket suspension parts and that I could buy something that would allow me to get the settings back with in spec.

Anonymous said...

Increased positive caster is a good thing...

Anonymous said...

Super cool blog! I am out in New York City and my next project is going to be an S2000 EV. My current project is a 72 240z ICE. Thanks for all the great info!

Art Wilbur said...

Brian, are you all stock in your suspension components? It might make sense to modify your springrates (and potentially dampening characteristics) to make up for the weight.

How much does it weigh now, and have you weighed per corner? I wonder how the weight balance has been effected by the cells.

I'm sure if you visited (have you already?) the group would love to help you make an educated selection on what might be best for the car.

I'd love to see it be able to handle like it was originally intended.

Man, I wish you were local. If I am able to do a long roadtrip one day, I hope that we'll be able to meet and you can take me for a ride - I'm a huge fan of the car and YOU in particular!

By the way, are you on Twitter? If so, find me so I can follow you!

Brian said...

Yeah the suspension is stock still. It's 300lbs heavy now, so really not bad. I haven't weighed each corner yet to see how good, or bad of a job I did at weight distribution. :)

I honestly can't tell the difference driving it now than before. It still seems to hug the road amazingly well.